Scottish Number Plates Deleted From APNR
A Police Scotland move to delete more than 500 million records from its vehicle number plate recognition database has been welcomed by the Lib Dems.
The climbdown comes after a Lib Dem Freedom of Information request last year revealed that 852,507,524 number plate records captured by automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras across the country were held in a Police Scotland database, with data available from as far back as 2009.
Data retention laws require that any such information is only kept for crimes, while all other data must be deleted.
The Lib Dems had expressed concern that the retention of so much information relating to innocent individuals was infringing on people’s civil liberties.
The number of records deleted was revealed by the police in response to another Freedom of Information request submitted by the Lib Dems.
Information provided by the police showed 547,459,904 number plate records had been disposed of.
Police Scotland’s response revealed that in June last year a senior officer had instructed that number plate data should be “weeded out” two years after it was added, apart from those required for ongoing investigations.
It said this deletion was in line with Home Office and Information Commissioner’s Office guidance. It added that “manual weeding” of the data began in October last year.
Lib Dem justice spokesman Liam McArthur said: “Last year we revealed that Police Scotland had nearly a billion records of number plates, with the overwhelming majority belonging to entirely innocent motorists.
“It has been proven that ANPR cameras can be useful in locating stolen vehicles and identifying uninsured motorists, but we’ve not been given any evidence to show just how effective they are at doing that.
“I am glad to see that, after raising this issue, Police Scotland has finally taken action to delete over 500 million records and introduce a policy that will see old records deleted automatically.
“There are essential questions that remain unanswered, however; such as how Police Scotland was able to amass such an enormous surveillance network without a clear statutory basis or parliamentary debate. The SNP has a poor record when it comes to protecting people’s civil liberties, eroding and ending many rights and liberties.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “ANPR cameras are a useful tool to help detect, deter and disrupt criminality. Their use is a matter for Police Scotland, operating in compliance with all relevant legislation.”
The following list shows plates that have been sold in the past at the highest prices. Most of these were sold in auctions across the country although some were sold by the DVLA.
- ‘25’ O for £518,000.
This is the most expensive Regplates ever sold by the DVLA, and were purchased in 2014 by Ferrari dealer John Collins. The plate is currently being used on a Ferrari. The market value of the car is around £10,000,000.
- ‘F 1’ for £440,000.
This Regplate was the previous record holder for the highest price paid for a reg plate. The plate represents the initials of Formula 1 racing and was bought in 2008 by Afzal Khan, a businessman from Bradford. The plates are currently being used on his McLaren Mercedes SLR, which is quite an impressive match.
- ‘S 1’ for £404,000.
This is claimed to be the first Regplate that was ever made in Scotland. Therefore, it is both special and rare, as it is only one of its kind. The Regplates were purchased in 2008 at an auction by an anonymous bidder who said the plate would be used on an old Skoda. It’s a good investment, either to mark history or as an antique.
- ‘1 D’ for £352,000.
These initials bear a resemblance to the American pop group One Direction. However, it is interesting to note that the Regplate was purchased a year before the group was even formed. Nabil Bishara, a businessman from Lebanon, purchased it.
- ‘M 1’ for £331,000.
Mike McCoomb, a businessman in the phone industry, bought this unique Reg plate back in 2006. He said the plates were meant for his son, who was 10 years old at the time of the purchase.
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